Suppliers urged to be more proactive in sourcing critical medical equipment
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Health and Wellness is urging suppliers to be more proactive in sourcing critical medical equipment to improve the capacity of the public health system to preserve life.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton made the call at a discussion forum with suppliers, dubbed ‘Improving Service Delivery in the Public Health System’, on Tuesday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Dr Tufton engaged the suppliers in what he termed a “frank discussion” on the transformation that Jamaica’s public health system is currently experiencing, and the role that they play in the supply chain.
He pointed out that as suppliers of equipment in essential services, the providers must be more responsive to sourcing critical equipment in urgent situations.
The Minister said it is unacceptable for operating theatres to be unable to function for extended periods because air-conditioning units are down while awaiting spare parts.
“It is a total disregard for the patients, and this is why we have people who think we don’t care,” Dr Tufton said.
He informed the suppliers that conditions will be placed in their contracts to hold them accountable in such instances.
“Public Health in Jamaica is experiencing a transformation… and the ultimate measurement of that is the extent to which we adjust the way we do things that serve the people better, our patients, our clients and our customers,” the Minister said.
He explained that the components of that are the expansion and upgrade of elements that go into providing services.
“The real challenge is going to be the change management component, so that people within the sector, whether you’re a supplier of equipment or services, internally or externally, you have to change your mindset or outlook in terms of what we are doing and why we’re doing it,” the Minister said.
He highlighted the many areas in which transformation is taking place in the public health system, such as numerous major infrastructure projects, the significant increase in human resources, and the digitisation of health records through the Health Information System.
“On the equipment front, which is where you come in, we have to do something about the consistency and performance of the hospital as a production plant, and when you look at the process flow of how patients are treated, there are a couple of pain points,” Dr Tufton pointed out.
While the Minister admitted that some of the challenges have been on the side of the Ministry based on insufficient provision in some instances and outdated and overworked equipment in others, he invited discussion on the suppliers’ concerns.
Dr Tufton used the session to present its new Maintenance Policy for Equipment within the Public Health System to the service providers.
The objective of the session was to work with the suppliers to identify and formulate solutions to address the maintenance issues that are affecting health service delivery across this island.